Francisca Masaquiza Chango
(2006 - present)
Francisca has lived in Salasaca her entire life and is very connected to the local community and culture. Her sister, the founder of SKY, named her legal president in 2006. From 2006 to 2016, she supervised the work realised by the director and the volunteers. After Robert’s death, she became the president in all its responsibilities.
After Robert’s death and certain complications in Manguiwa community, Francisca continued the project in Patuloma community and she made the continuation of the SKY Foundation possible.
Francisca is in charge of organizing and leading different tasks (like gardening), helping the volunteers connect to the community’s traditions, and ensuring the wellbeing of the volunteers. She also lives in Patuloma community, 5 minutes from Hosteria Pachamama.
Micaela Jerez Masaquiza
(2017 - present)
Born on July 21, 1994 in Salasaca, Micaela is the founder’s niece. She attended Katitawa school during her first 6 years of schooling. She has always been connected to the foundation through her family.
Since 2017, she has been put in charge of the coordination of volunteers with her mother, Francisca. Her responsibilities include coordinating the arrival of new volunteers, welcoming them to the house, and dividing volunteer tasks. She is the direct point of contact with the indigenous community and updates the foundation’s social media.
Micaela lives in Hosteria Pachamama with all the volunteers. She participates in the same daily life and tasks, as much as her university classes permit. She likes to cook and eat with volunteers and she often shows them traditional places, food, and festivities in Salasaca.
Rosa Maria Masaquiza Chango
Founder, Ex-President, Ex-Director of Katitawa school
Rosa Maria realised her dream of having a bilingual school for Kichwa and Spanish in Salasaca in 1997. The Sumak Kawsay Yachay school (Katitawa school), started as a private institution and eventually joined the Department of Education’s network of bilingual schools.
Rosa Maria dedicated all her energy to building and opening the school. As director of the school, she crafted the curriculum and looked for ways to improve the installations and increase the student body. She maintained her job as university professor in order to pay the professors and children's transportation, and she got solar panels donated from Katherine J. Lewis and Arizona State University for electricity in the classrooms, kitchen, computers, clean water, and garden irrigation.
In February of 2006, she was offered a job in the United States that she couldn’t reject. Before leaving, she left the organization in her sister Francisca's hands, and Robert Jeffords and her niece Micaela came to play a key role in the foundation's development. The volunteers still live in her house today.
Robert was born in the United States in 1932 and moved to Ecuador during retirement. In 2005, he met Rosa Maria and he became very interested in the foundation. Robert began as a volunteer a year before Rosa Maria moved to the United States.
Robert was the de-facto president for 10 years as he took the responsibility of continuing the project. He accomplished a lot in these years, including the construction of the “Rosa Maria” library, which remained open in Manguiwa community from 2011 to 2017.
In 10 years in Salasaca, Robert helped the same community in which he lived, and he was loved dearly by the community and volunteers alike. He remains a role-model for many in Salasaca today.
Robert died at 84 years of age in Salasaca from lung cancer, and he was buried in the local cemetery.